Divorce is never an easy situation, and when children are involved in the process, it is important to take into account how a divorce can negatively affect their lives. In order to minimize the negative effects of a divorce on children, there are some steps that you can take with them and with your spouse to make everything as easy as possible.
Communicate Openly About the Situation
The first thing that you can do to minimize the effects of your divorce on your children is to communicate openly about the situation. Many parents try to hide the situation from their children, but instead of shielding them it creates anxiety, distrust, and other negative outcomes. Be honest but tactful about the situation with you and your spouse and that you have decided to get a divorce. Reiterate that the decision has nothing to do with the children and that both parents still love them. Allow the opportunity for questions and time to process that the divorce is happening. Continue the dialogue with your children – this is not a single talk but a continuing conversation about how this process is affecting them.
Avoid the Blame Game
Another way to minimize the negative impact of a divorce on your children is to avoid the blame game or otherwise bad talking your spouse. It can be difficult at times to do, especially if the divorce is not particularly amicable, but avoid speaking badly about your spouse in front of your children. It can make your children feel like they are forced to choose a side and feel incredibly uncomfortable listening to one parent speak poorly of the other. Reserve those comments for conversations with other family members and friends when your children are not around.
Continue to Communicate with Your Spouse
Despite separating your lives, you and your spouse will have to continue to communicate as the parents of your children. As such, it is critical to continue the dialogue with your spouse about your children’s care. This includes everything from custody and visitation schedules to school events and extracurriculars, medical decisions, and choices about religion. Seeing you communicate with your spouse reassures your children and lessens the negative effects of the divorce. Communication also helps establish new routines and creates a sense of normalcy for your children even after the divorce is finalized.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
You can also consider alternative dispute resolution methods as part of your divorce to help lessen the negative impact of the divorce on your children. Unlike traditional litigated divorce, alternative methods like divorce mediation and collaborative divorce focus on compromise and communication. This in turn can foster a more amicable relationship between you and your spouse that will carry over to your children. These methods also allow you to specifically tailor your finalized divorce agreement to meet the unique needs of your family for things like child custody and visitation. If you and your spouse cannot agree during a traditional divorce, the court may order a boilerplate custody and visitation schedule that does not actually work for your family. By creating a plan that works best for your children’s well-being, it can significantly reduce the negative effects of the divorce.
Get Some Help
Finally, consider getting some additional help during this difficult transition period for you and your children. Have your children speak to a therapist about their feelings and concerns about your divorce who can help them work through them in a positive way. There are also clubs and groups that your children can join with other children of divorced parents that can help with the transition from married to divorced parents. Take the time to speak with a professional, as well, because your mental health and stress levels can directly affect the amount of negative effects a divorce can have on a child.
Call or Contact Us Today
The divorce process is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult on children involved. To learn more about the options available to you that can minimize the negative effects of a divorce on your children, call or contact the Law Offices of Steven Gildin in New York today to schedule a free consultation of your case.